Leadership Alabama names new executive director

The new leader has been dedicated to leadership for more than a dozen years and is committed to leading the team to success.

Leadership Alabama names new executive director

A new leader is taking the helm at one of the key nonprofits in the state for community awareness and leadership development.

Ashley Kaplan, the current executive director of Leadership Alabama, will step down on June 30, after Kate Cotton.

Kaplan has worked with Leadership Alabama more than 15 year. She was appointed membership director in January 2018 and then promoted to director of the Alabama Leadership Initiative. She then served as director of membership and engagement, before becoming director of operations.

Kaplan, in her role with Leadership Alabama led the expansion and growth of the Alabama Leadership Initiative.

Melissa Morrissette is the chair of Leadership Alabama. She said: "Ashley was always a valuable resource, both positive and knowledgeable, regarding all aspects Leadership Alabama." No one knows the members of Leadership Alabama or the complexities of planning retreats like Ashley. Ashley is dedicated to fostering growth, increasing membership engagements and orchestrating compelling retreat programming for future LA classes and ALI classes.

Cotton will continue to be part of the team in a part-time operational and development role. Her husband John, who is still fighting Parkinson's Disease after four years, has stepped down. Cotton, a BBJ top Birmingham Woman, was in the role of executive director for over five years. Cotton, who had worked at Protective Life Corp. for a number of years, was serving as a member of the Leadership Alabama Board when she was selected to be the executive director.

Morrissette stated that "her infectious spirit, professionalism, attention and passion to Leadership Alabama's Mission have fostered record growth, financial and operating efficiencies, enhanced retreat programs and expanded opportunities for membership engagement."